How to understand the foibles of belief and the fallible human psyche
“It’s not that superstition and New Age so-called “beliefs” and fundamentalist zealotry are something new. They’ve been with us for as long as we’ve been human. But we [now] live in an age based on science and technology, with formidable technological powers”.
“We need a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility”.
“If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan political or religious who comes ambling along—Carl Sagan “A Way of Thinking”
How the men of words used natural phenomena to control entire cultures
Since only about the past 3 centuries have mountains been explored and climbed. Historically, in them dwelt the gods, God, or devils and monsters. Folk lore is rich with misunderstandings of geology and what lay in the high places—including lore of the Bible.
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.” Exodus 20:18 KJV
We can all easily imagine all these descriptions are that of a volcanic process, but what about the trumpet? For thirty days prior to an eruption in Hawaii, these sounds were recorded (there are others as well) that describe the high pressure venting of gasses pressing through fissures. But like any good preacher, the Moses character takes advantage of the crisis.
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” Exodus 20:20 KJV
If the people survive this, he has the control over them for a lifetime. If not, meh, the dead never write nor have much to say. That technique has enslaved billions for millennia in multiple civilizations. It was a bold play on primitive ignorance.
Today mountain climbing is merely a hobby and studying them is a profession. We routinely climb the once forbidden domains of god without fear of meeting him face to face, because it is an imagínate being. It always has been a superstitious misunderstanding of the natural world that has empowered the men of words. Thank you geologists!
How humankind is poised to replace natural selection with intelligent design
Since the appearance of life, about a billion years ago, never has a single species changed the global ecology all by itself… Now humankind is poised to replace natural selection with intelligent design, and to extend life from the organic realm into the inorganic.”
Google task force “Calico” (headed by Art Levinson from Genentech) is currently developing a model for people to live productive lives for 500 years (Imagine your family photo with 20-30 generations) Currently Americans generate just over 4 pounds of trash per day. With a 500 year life span that equals just about 785,000 pounds of trash per person.
At current population rates, the first generation of the world that hits a 500 year life span would produce 14Quadrillion pounds of trash, not including industrial waste.
Having been subject to the ravages of environmental and other threats, some of their own making, humans have attained the knowledge, the will, the organization, and the mechanisms to subjugate every other species on the planet to their will. To what end? What’s the point of adding years to life if we have to live in a cesspool to achieve it?
How faith promotes nonsensical bias resulting in errant outcomes
The Self Serving Bias—a tendency overestimate our ability, our sources, your niche in life, attributing good things that happen to your own character, while dismissing the negative to external factors. It can happen to anyone, but through some simple steps one can find reasonable accuracy to their actual abilities, improving their vantage point to show each of us a firmer reality.
This carryover into Christianity is a shoe-in and the writers, founders, and the pulpits of today continue to tap into this basic underdeveloped point of our slowly advancing human psychology. Read more bible, pray more is a death sentence to reason.
Routinely Christians give their conceptual god a free pass, while any negative outcomes of faith are attributed to the fallen world, mere people, freewill, all the way to total acquiescence of “god is in control”. And if god is in control, it’s not the fault of religion or the faithful individual.
This bias paves the way to misinterpretation of the religious result, always calling good what is an obvious poor, contradictory outcome. It is never what it seems to the believer.
Countless studies across the spectrum of disciplines bare this out time and again. Chances are, the indoctrinations of your youth are wrong. If you study religion more than other topics, you are biased and believe the things you know will somehow benefit you—even when they don’t. There’s only one way around it. Honest, self examination and and a variety of sources and disciplines. You are not as right as you think you are, but can be if one can apply some mindful self awareness.
China to require permits for Tibetan monks to reincarnate
China is in the process of requiring permits for Tibetan Monks to reincarnate—Bureau order #5 has been drafted (no kidding) and requiring the next Dalai Lama be born in China. The current leader is 83 and leaning towards not returning at all to preserve the sanctity of the position. Monks from around the world will soon be converging on India where talks will be held later this week.
“There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won’t come next, who will disgrace himself or herself,” the Dalai Lama told BBC in 2014. “That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama.”
In any case, China has already declared their right to pick the next Dalai Lama and requires all high-ranking Lamas to have a permit to reincarnate, undoubtedly will choose their own Lama while announcing the Tibetan as a pretender.
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Micheal Harner, who recently passed away, was an anthropologist who studied shamanistic similarities around the world. The foundation for shamanistic studies houses the largest data base preserving the practice.
Shamanism can be seen as a fundamentally spiritual approach to real-life problem solving informed by an animistic philosophy that is practiced by individuals for the benefit of their group. These individuals systematically utilize a technique or combination of techniques to alter consciousness in such a way that they reliably access nonordinary reality.
“Core shamanism emphasizes the shamanic journey, an excursion into nonordinary reality by an individual or group of individuals facilitated by monotonous drumming. The excursion is purely a consciousness experience. The destination(s) of the journey is/are the conventional Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds. Individuals are taught to journey in a weekend workshop, focused on methodology. Each participant has as a goal in initial journeys the meeting of at least one of their own existing power animals and spirit teachers. These become the indispensable resources of each person for further shamanic work. Participants are taught that shamanism is designed for healing, both of self and others“(1)
Prior to colonialism regular people had access to the spirit realms and these things were forcefully done away with, while the church took control over spirituality—Now you had to go through them, while they swept under the rug ancient practices that gave people personal connections, personal ability to provide for their own spiritual needs, it was viewed as heretical or witchery, outdated or “uncivilized”, but the fact is that there were core shamanistic practices around the world, all different walks of life shared in the same common rituals to seek out higher levels of spiritual connection beyond our ordinary reality.
A common thread—They knew something, (and the church continued to keep their own mystics), while abolishing it wherever they could outside the church walls. Common people didn’t lose their ability to connect with god, but it was taken from them and replaced with a forgery that only provides hope without substance. The churches will never replace what man could originally do for himself, but that won’t keep the church from claiming authority for these things, while all along it was done at a higher level and with regularity (at will) by maintaining certain practices that are largely missing from the modern world.
It is evidenced by Christianity today, each believer going their own way but knows not where to turn, picking and choosing and searching, but failing. The power has always been within you to chart your own spiritual journey, but the churches have destroyed the tools to do so, yet each has gone their own way is evidence christianity has failed the people at a global level.
How the wisdom of the crowd compares to belief in god or religion
In 1906, the great statistician Francis Galton observed a competition to guess the weight of an ox at a country fair. Eight hundred people entered. Galton, being the kind of man he was, ran statistical tests on the numbers. He discovered that the average guess (1,197lb) was extremely close to the actual weight of 1,198lb.
Marcus du Sautoy is a British mathematician specializing in group theory and number theory. He recently had a random group of 160 people, guess how many jellybeans were in a large jar. While guesses ranged from 400 to 50,000, the groups average guess was 2,514. The actual number—2,510.
The wisdom of the crowd is very good at guessing. The difference between this wisdom and religious wisdom, is actual cows and actual jellybeans were used in these experiments. No invisible beans were estimated, and no psychological faith ploy preceded the experiments from birth.